Category Archives: This Week’s Teaching

Relationships

Listen to audio click here Relationships

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” –John 13:34-35

If you want to see the true character of people, look at their home life. It is unlikely that you get an accurate assessment just by observing someone in church, work, or in a social setting. The true character of an individual is revealed at home—seeing how the person interacts with his or his spouse, kids, and even the family pet. For most of us, it’s not too difficult to put on our best faces for a couple of hours a day. But at home, we let our guard down and reveal who we really are. When the makeup and masks come off, what does your family see? What do you see? What does God see?

Most lost in church struggle with interpersonal relationships—especially among those who know them best: their family. Your family knows what makes you tick—and what ticks you off. They know your weaknesses, sore sports, and fears. And your family knows when your walk does not match your talk.

Too many families are dysfunctional today. Could it be that many of them are among the lost in church? If so, they unable to lock into the divine power that enables them to love and forgive unconditionally, and the know how to stick it out when the pressures of life bear down upon them.

I learned no matter how close your walk is with the Lord you will stumble, you will fall, and you will make a fool of yourself. The difference between the lost in church and the true church is simple: The lost consistently fall from grace and don’t repent; the true fall less often and when they do, they seek God’s and each other’s forgiveness

In addition to not having the Spirit to help them with their relationships, the lost in church have misplaced valves. They know the priorities that God has set for mankind, but few actually put that knowledge into action. And remember, saving faith requires us to act upon the knowledge we have—not just give it lip service. This list of priorities based on scriptural principles will help to create a God-centered marriage and other relationships.

God
Spouse
Kids
Job
Friends
Self

Many church families today are dysfunctional because of mixed-up priorities. Their list may look something like this:

Job
Self
Kids
Church
Friends
Spouse
God

This is where I was for the first part of my adult life:

Self
Job
Kids
Friends
Church
God

After being married awhile:

Self
Job
Kids
Spouse
Friends
Church
God

When I being to learn about God:

God
Job
Self
Kids
Spouse
Friends

When I became active within the church:

Church
Job
Self
Kids
Friends
Spouse
God

After Church:

God
Spouse
Kids
Job
Friends
Self

God
No matter how you look at things, Jesus must come first in your marriage and family relationships. There’s nothing more important than centering your life and family on God. Remember, He is a jealous God, and He take the step, sometimes painful steps, to bring you in line with His desires. Exodus 20:5 (NIV) You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, Your life will never function properly when you are out of His will. So if things aren’t going the way you like, carefully examine your priorities. Realize that God may be trying to get your attention. He loves you too much to allow you to foul up in this critical area; however he will never force any of us.

Wife
The second priority in your Christian walk must be your spouse. Genesis 2:24 (NIV) For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Ephesians 5:28-30 (NIV) In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church for we are members of his body.
You are spiritually joined with your spouse. Scripture likens the earthly love between a husband and a wife to the love Jesus has for His bride the church.
It is critical that you place your spouse above your children. This doesn’t mean you don’t take care of your children or that you show them less love. Nor do you neglect their emotional needs. On the contrary, it means you show you spouse the love he or she deserves so your kids can grow up learning what true love means. Try to plan time with each other at least once a week if possible in order to nature your relationship. Your children will benefit from the security of having parents who love each other.
Children
Part of the Christian life is putting others before yourself. Your children are not only gifts from God; they are your responsibility.
Psalms 127:3 (NKJV) Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Isaiah 54:13 (NKJV) All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children.
Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Mark 9:37 (NKJV) “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”
Of course, parents must provide the necessities like shelter, food, and clothing. But they must also give their children tenderness, compassion, time and a Christian witness—in the word, love. Too many parents, especially fathers, provide financially for their families without providing the emotional and spiritual support that creates a healthy, happy home. Those lost in church are often negligent in thus matter as they try to keep up with the Joneses. Money and possessions can never substitute for time and love. I’ve never seen a mansion give a kid a hug or an expensive toy cheer him on at a sporting event or a vacation repair the damage from a year of neglect.

Job
Of course, we must work and to provide the necessities of life. It’s part of the original curse from Adam’s and Eve’s rebellion.
Genesis 3:17-19 (NKJV)
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
Although your job falls near the bottom of the totem pole, it often takes you from your family for a portion of each day. Now in the world we live in father and mothers, husband and wives. For some of us God maybe calling you to a new job or career, an occupation that will give you more time with your family. For others he may be calling you to stay at home with your children and raise them in the knowledge of the Lord. There are still others to whom the Holy Spirit is telling you to slow down cut back and take time to get to know the family again.

Friends
You may have noticed that I prioritized friends before self. Proverbs 17:17 (NKJV) A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. Your circle of friends and acquaintances should be a fantastic place to show Christian witness. They need to see the godly priorities in the life and your personal walk with God. They need to know that you keep your word and that you will stick with them through thick and thin. Your influence can make a difference in someone’s going to heaven or hell. Friends can also be an excellent source of encouragement for you during the dark trails of life.

Self
We’ve come to the last word on the list: You! Does this make you less important everyone else? Of course not! Does it mean you don’t need to take care of yourself? No! Scripture clearly speaks to this issue.

Matthew 16:24 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

We must give up what we want to do what God wants. We must leave behind our sinful ways and follow Him in righteousness. Giving up our desires places God in the captain’s seat of our lives. Who do you think is more qualified to fill the position, you or Jesus?

Philippians 2:3-4 (NKJV) Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Jesus wants us His people to give to others, to have an attitude of humility instead of pride. He wants the church to act more like a family rather than a business where it’s “every man for himself.” The lost in church try to succeed with their families, yet fail miserably. They fail because they are trusting in man-made techniques rather God’s.

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